BENSON — The Benson High School cross country runners Sean Laura and Amity Hall led the way with first place finishes at the Bobcats’ Annual Cross Country Invitational this past Saturday.
Six other teams joined the Bobcats in their invitational: Bisbee, Poston Butte, St. Augustine, St. David, Tombstone and Willcox.
The Benson girls won their race with 24 points followed by Poston Butte with 31.
Benson junior Amity Hall took first place with a 21:50.41. Bobcat times were: freshman Bailey Hall with a 22:46.96, sophomore Siarra Wilson with a 23:52.91, freshman Ella Allred with a 26:28.09, sophomore Brooke Schmidt with a 26:58.37 and sophomore Briley Barney with a 29:48.72.
The Bobcat boys took third place out of the seven competing teams. Poston Butte took the title with 41 points followed by St. Augustine with 57, Benson with 63, Bisbee with 85 and Tombstone with 101.
Benson’s Sean Laura, in his last home cross country competition, took first place with a 19:13.05. Bobcat times were: junior Zach Laura with a 19:44.56, sophomore Joseph Akers with a 20:41.49, sophomore Max Frost with a 22:23.42, freshman Sy Arnold with a 25:28.44 and junior Thomas Caywood with a 31:05.24.
“Our teams did a super job with all our runners having much better times in our Invitational than they had on the same course at our open meet in September,” Benson varsity cross-country coach Randy Barney said. “Now we have two more meets to help us get tuned up for sectionals.”
The Tombstone Yellow Jacket boys’ team placed fifth. Times for the Yellow Jacket boys were: senior Quinten Palmer with a 21:16.49, senior Chris Tinney with a 21:16.61, senior Erick Amaya with a 22:39.26, junior Devon Mize with a 23:04.95, senior Mark Moore with a 24:38.73, freshman Anthony Piro with a 26:12:36 and senior Jonathan Vandenberg with a 27:26.17.
Placing for the Yellow Jacket girls was freshman Reagan McGuire with a time of 23:18.67
“Our athletes continue to improve with every meet,” Tombstone varsity cross country coach Jake Winslow said. “This was a very good meet, small but very competitive. Collectively, this was our best meet so far this season.”
The St. David Tigers had three runners competing — senior Elijah Schmidt with a time of 20:53.53 and senior Zack Hacker with a 23:03.37 for the boys’ team; senior Alana Jones ran a 31:29.53 for the Tiger girls.
“This was a fun race with a lot of good runners,” St. David varsity cross country coach Richard Jones said. “I’m proud of how hard our athletes are working. We’re really looking forward to running in Thatcher this Friday.”
Competing for the Willcox Cowboys were junior Johnny Collins with a 21:00.43, senior Nathaniel Clement with a 21:02.47 and freshman M. Lane Whetten with a 22:15.63.
The Cowgirls’ runners were sophomore Maylee Thompson with a 27:08.9, sophomore Yuliana Reyes with a 29:30.5 and sophomore Allison Wilson with a 34:13.88.
“All of our runners had better times than the first time we competed on the Benson course earlier in the season,” Willcox varsity cross country coach Craig Hamilton said. “It’s very encouraging to see our athletes continually improving.”
Plaques were given to the top three teams; medals were presented to the top 20 boys and top 20 girls. This year all runners were provided with timing chips which allowed for instant results when they passed the finish line. The plaques and the timing system (chips and the use of timing equipment) were donated by SSVEC.
This week Benson and Tombstone will be competing in the Eye of the Tiger Invitational on Saturday, in Marana.
St. David will be traveling to Thatcher for the Thatcher Cross Country Invitational on Friday.